Word for Word Presents:

Bear Graphic banner green.jpg

“Exactly!” They Said…

A Festival of Short Stories by California Writers Brought Straight to the Stage


Festival Dates: November 1-7

Location: Z Below, 470 Florida St., San Francisco and other locations to be announced.

Tickets on sale soon!

Word for Word’s First-Ever Short Story Contest

Having transformed short stories verbatim to the stage for the past 25 years, Word for Word now wants to extend this singular experience to writers throughout California. The selected short stories reflect many points of view, from a rich diversity of California’s writers. Festival activities will include a writers salon featuring Greg Sarris (Grand Avenue, Watermelon Nights, How A Mountain was Made) and Amy Tan ("The Bonesetter's Daughter", "The Joy Luck Club") and other activities. The festival will culminate in staged readings of five jury selected short stories by adults and six jury selected stories by teens, performed in Word for Word’s signature Off the Page style.

Stand with the bear! Be a literary champion and support California writers by sponsoring or partnering with “Exactly!” They Said…

Sponsorship / Partner benefits available.
Contact Vanessa Flores at vflores@zspace.org or at 415. 659.8134 to learn more.

Adult Category


Kim Addonizio, "Cancer Poems"
Michael Alenyikov, "Arithmetic"
Anita Cabrera, "The 14 Mission"
Lindsey Crittenden "The Ruins"
Katherine Lieban, "Blue Ruin"

Short List

Louise Aronson
Marya Brennan
Katie Gilmartin
Todd Graham 
Pamela Gullard
Paul Heller
Lisa Piazza
Vincente Viray 

We are honored to have received short stories from the following, and thank them for their creativity and their interest!

Barbara Anderson, Daniel Ari, Kristy Lin Billuni, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Stuart Bousel, Sara Brody, Robbi Sommers Bryant, Jim Van Buskirk, Leslie Kirk Campbel, Kristen Cosby, Daniel Coshnear, Paul DiMartini, Kate Farrell, Audrey Ferber, Jo Fox, Mark Russell Gelade, Ellen Geohegan, Molly Giles, Anara Guard, Ann Hillesland, Vanessa Hua, Kim Junse, Ellen Kerr, Douglas Konecky, Marilyn Kriegel, Donna Laemmlen, Shea Loewen Lazarow, Zena Levine, Julie Lindow, Li Miao Lovett, Anna Mantzaris, Jackie Davis Martin, Miriam Morgan, Blair Moser, Margaret Murray, Margaret O'Day, Mira Pasikov, Cary Pepper, Tony Pressman, Sonya Redi, Ethel Rohan, Cathy Rose, Daniel Schifrin, Janet Schneider, Richard Schwarzenberger, David Schwirtz, Matthew Snyderman, Carrie Staller, Elizabeth Stix, Marylyn Tesconi, Laura Walker, Genanne Walsh, Olga Zilberbourg

Teen Category


Kenzo Fukuda, "Middle School Advice"
Tess Horton, "Atop the SaltbackMountain"
Sofi Orkin, "Here's a Theory Darling"
Stella Pfahler, "The Magnolia Man"
Charlotte Pocock, "Matter of the Heart and Mind"
Maya Reihanian, "Cancer"

We are honored to have received short stories from the following, and thank them for their creativity and their interest!

Lauren Ainslie, Luna Alcorcha, Solange Baker, Nina Berggren, Parker Burrows, Kai Caceres, Max Chu, Emma Cooney, Zai Deriu, Hannah Duane, Paloma Fernandez, Nadja Goldberg, Sequoia Hack, Otto Handler, Puck Hartsough, Kaia Hobson, Rae Kim, Emily Kozhina, Benjamin Leuty, Xuan Ly, Julieta Roll, Jessica Schott-Rosenfield, Huckleberry Shelf, Ren Weber, Eva Whitney